Saturday 28th September 2013 @ Braemar Road
Final – Erdington and Saltley 1 – 0 South Birmingham A (aet)
Semi-final – Erdington and Saltley 0 – 0 South Birmingham B (3-2 on pens)
At the start of the morning, both Liam and I had a strange feeling in our bellies…optimism! Neither of us wanted to get carried away but we couldn’t help but get excited about the morning ahead. We sorted the players into two teams – The Greens: a solid defensive unit who would be able to stand the test of whatever each district threw at them; The Black and Whites: an attack minded team who would look to score at every given opportunity.
The Greens – Alfie, Daniel, Callum, Kieran, George, Rayhaan, Leyton
The Black and Whites – Dermot, Mark, Ethan, Michael, Ramello, Amari, Shilo, Tyrese
How it turned out . . .
The Group Stage
For all of their fighting spirit and defensive strength, The Greens found it difficult to break down their opposition, although the same can be said for the opposition. Their experience in the group stage can be summed up in a few words: difficult to score against, difficult to score. With a little bit more luck, The Greens would have won a game or two and finished higher up the table. As it is, they drew a pair of games and never conceded more than one goal in a game. It just wouldn’t happen for them in front of goal despite their herculean efforts.
Scoring was not a problem for The Black and Whites. They found themselves in an incredibly tight group where the vast majority of games ended with one or no goals. In fact, other than The Ton, only one team scored more than one goal during a Red Group match. The Black and Whites put two past South Birmingham and five past Harborne, whilst also playing some attractive attacking football. Whenever possible, the lads played the ball out from the back and looked to play fast paced passing football.
The Greens – Played six, drew two, lost four, scored none, conceded four – 2 points
The Black and Whites – Played six, won three, drew two, lost one, scored nine, conceded one – 11 points
The Semi-final – Erdington and Saltley 0 – 0 South Birmingham B (The Ton win on penalties)
This was an incredibly tight affair and despite never looking like losing it, The Ton knew that whilst the score remained 0-0, there was a danger that South Birmingham would nick and goal and with it, a place in the final. The game went to an inevitable penalty shootout and with every one of the eight players volunteering to take a spot-kick, the three ‘lucky’ takers were Ethan, Tyrese and Amari. Ethan tucked his kick away to the keeper’s right and Tyrsese smashed his straight down the middle. Amari…er…Amari kicked his…er…I don’t actually know what Amari did with his kick as I couldn’t watch! However nervous I felt, I still had full faith in Amari’s kick taking ability after watching him score a penalty during the group stage (twice!). The nerve shredding victory in the shootout put us through to the final to face South Birmingham again!
The Final – Erdington and Saltley 1 – 0 South Birmingham (aet)
“Lets do this the easy way lads.” Clearly they never listened to me! Chances came and went, with Amari smashing a shot against the post and Michael putting a shot wide whilst one-on-one with the keeper. With the match in the second period of extra time and with two minutes left, Shilo was thrown back into the lion’s den and asked to get us a goal. With the clock ticking down and the prospect of the trophy being shared looking increasingly likely, Shilo picked up the ball on the right and skipped past three players. With the defender closing him down, he slid the ball into the path of Tyrese who crossed it first time for Amari to tuck the ball away. With one minute remaining, The Ton kept the ball and saw the clock down in a mature fashion. With the final whistle echoing around Braemar Road, The Ton lads remembered their opponents and kept their celebrations on hold whilst paying respect to their opponents.
A team who play with skill, flair and sportsmanship….perfect!
Goals: Ethan x 2, Shilo x 2, Tyrese x 1, Amari x 3, Ramello x 3
Well done to both teams and a huge thank you to all the parents who gave The Ton incredible support all morning. If we continue to work hard as a team, this could be an exciting season!
Up the Ton!